If you’ve ever watched the movies Beetlejuice or Candyman, you will have noticed a ritual that was performed in order to summon the spirits of the dead. This sort of act originates from an old children’s game referred to as Bloody Mary.
The ghost or witch that is associated with this game is said to be that of a woman named Mary Worth. It is said when summoned, her image will appear in a mirror. This ritual is often performed by standing in front of a mirror and calling out her name three times in a row.
Many variations of this game exist. Some participants have repeated her name a hundred times, where others rub their eyes or spin around while calling out her name. These acts are used to put the individual in a state to accept the game more freely. Some versions of the game even go far as to call out “Bloody Mary, I killed your son” or “Bloody Mary, I killed your baby.” When adhering to this variation, it is believed that Bloody Mary is the ghost of a woman who killed her own child or was a lady that was murdered just before or after she was married. Other variations describe Bloody Mary as a child-murderess responsible for the deaths of many children. She is also said to be located at a local graveyard or tombstone.
The variations are endless, but another interesting version deals with Queen Mary I, which refers to the many miscarriages and false pregnancies that she encountered. If Mary I was able to produce a child, it would have created a Roman Catholic succession, so her inability to bear an heir, created a certain madness every time she lost a child. Mary Queen of Scots was also referred to as Bloody Mary, who is said to have bathed in the blood of her young victims, a ritual that was done because she believed it would provide her with a youthful look.
The use of the mirror to see Bloody Mary’s image dates back to Halloween rituals involving mirrors and darkness. Folklore deals with young women who were told that they could see the face of their future mate in a mirror that was held next to a candle while walking backwards up a flight of stairs. This was supposed to be accomplished while the house is in complete darkness. A twist to the legend is that if the skull-face of the Grim Reaper is seen, the woman will pass away before she ever finds her companion.
So what happens when you accomplish this ritual, if you dare complete it? Many chicken out before saying the last Bloody Mary or do not completely gaze into the mirror. It is believed that the face of Bloody Mary can be seen in the mirror, but more advanced variations claim that the woman will try to harm individuals in some way. Some methods of attack include: scratching with nails, bites to the face, as well as knife attacks.